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APTA's Ford Tells Mayors: Invest in Public Transit; 'Major Economic Driver' Needs Federal Support

APTA Vice Chair Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., chief executive officer, Jacksonville (FL) Transportation Authority, stressed the importance of increased public transportation investment, including continuation of FTA’s Capital Investment Grant program, in remarks at the United States Conference of ­Mayors’ (USCM) recent Leadership Meeting in New Orleans.

“People understand that public transportation is a major economic driver,” Ford said, citing voters’ approval of a record $170 billion in long-term public transit investments in November 2016. Despite this public support, he said, “the Trump administration has proposed phasing out federal funding for new starts, small starts and core capacity programs [in] a retreat from the federal-state-local partnership that supports infrastructure and the American economy.”

He continued, “Communities have lined up their local share for projects with the expectation that the federal share would be there. It is imperative that the Federal Transit Administration honor its trust through the Capital Investment Grant program.  To do otherwise is to put a ‘red light’ on infrastructure investments” that would put at risk 800,000 jobs, 54 transit projects in 23 states worth $38 billion and $90 billion in economic output nationally.

APTA Vice Chair Nathaniel P. Ford Sr. addresses the U.S. Conference of Mayors
Ford emphasized the importance of APTA and USCM standing together shoulder to shoulder for the continuation of federal-state-local roles and as Congress considers its FY 2018 appropriations measures and an infrastructure bill. In addition to the proposed FY 2018 cuts, the administration has expressed in broad terms that public transportation should be a local responsibility without a federal role.

Ford spoke as part of a panel discussion on infrastructure funding and finance, which also included remarks by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed presided at the session.
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